Pep’s potless and Yaya may have a point!

So for the first time as a manager Pep Guardiola, hasn’t won the proverbial ‘pot’ to p*ss in, albeit conventional wisdom has it he would normally drink champagne from trophies won with Barcelona and, or, Bavarian beer from silverware gained with Bayern Munich.

But what of it?

Hard to swallow - Pep has had to ensure a litany of wrong decisions that referees have made against City this season.

Hard to swallow – Pep has had to endure a litany of wrong decisions that referees have made against City this season.

City’s Catalan boss is arguably the most gifted coach of his generation and among the most successful football managers of all time…and he’s only been at it for eight years.

And yet, not only do we have the traditional City haters on the TV, radio and in the press, seeking to ridicule Guardiola, we have that most wonderful of modern day mediums – ‘social’ media – in full swing.

Sir Winston Churchill – one of Britain’s finest ever leaders – once said: “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

Sir Winston Churchill was a winner. Pep Guardiola was a winner...and more importantly, will be with City in the future.

Sir Winston Churchill was a winner. Pep Guardiola was a winner…and more importantly, will be with City in the future.

Similarly, one might say that the best argument against social media are the 140 characters from tw@ts on Twitter, along with the unlimited consonants and vowels from fools on Facebook, calling for City to sack Pep.

You’d expect it from the likes of the Swamp-dwellers, the Bin-dippers, the Chavs and the Gooners – the latter obviously still giddy at the match winning FA Cup semi final performance of their star man, Craig Pawson.

Regrettably we also have City fans undermining the manager of their club.

Sergio's 30th goal of the season wasn't enough to see City through to the FA Cup Final.

Sergio’s 30th goal of the season wasn’t enough to see City through to the FA Cup Final.

Well, the Pep debate has been raging for months among City fans and, in an age of avarice and impatience where everybody wants success and they want it NOW, some want Guardiola gone.

Whatever happened to playing the long game?

No – not the long ball game – rather the game that gives a genius adequate time to once again, prove that he is just that – a damn sight more intelligent than those at ‘Cretins R Us’ Central.

Cheated - the ball clearly stays in play prior to City's first half goal being ruled out at Wembley.

Cheated – the ball clearly stays in play prior to City’s first half goal being ruled out at Wembley.

When Pep arrived in Manchester last summer he said he was here to learn. He admitted he was stepping out of his comfort zone, adding he wasn’t here to revolutionise English football.

On the contrary, he was trading virtually assured success at Bayern Munich for the lottery of the Premier League.

So far he hasn’t come up with the winning ticket, but most level-headed City fans are betting he will in 2017/18 and beyond.

Aguero and Sterling celebrate the goal that never was, but should have been!

Aguero and Sterling celebrate the goal that never was, but should have been!

Undeniably, City’s team and squad has not proven worthy of winning titles or cups this season. The reasons are manifold and well documented, but just to briefly recap; ageing full backs, a goalkeeping farce, injuries to key personnel, profligacy in front of goal and yes, some tactical errors.

Pep may indeed be a genius, but he’s far from perfect. Nonetheless, I’d have him as City manager above every other coach on the planet.

Let’s also – unashamedly – look at the role of the 12th man throughout this season – you know the one who more often than not lines up with City’s opponents, only he’s not actually wearing the red of United, Liverpool or Arsenal, the blue of Chelsea or the white of Spurs.

Stonewall Sterling penalty - Raheem is denied a nailed on penalty appeal after being fouled by Spurs' Kyle Walker.

Stonewall Sterling penalty – Raheem is denied a nailed on penalty appeal after being fouled by Spurs’ Kyle Walker.

City have been right royally rogered by Mike Riley and his band of merry PGMOL men like never before.

I don’t like City losing, but I readily accept City losing when it’s by fair means – not foul – prime examples being away games at Spurs 2-0, Barcelona 4-0, Leicester 4-2, Liverpool 1-0 and Monaco 3-1.

Most football fans complain about the inconsistency of referees.

Oliver's Twist - Referee Michael Oliver and his hapless assistant didn't see Milner's foul on Sterling from any angles!

Oliver’s Twist – Referee Michael Oliver and his hapless assistant didn’t see Milner’s foul on Sterling from any angle!

City supporters are probably the exception – they complain about the breathtaking consistency of officials –  referees and linesmen who hardly ever fail to screw Pep’s team, time and time again.

Craig Pawson’s clueless show at Wembley yesterday will be a top contender for PGMOL’s Prize Member of the Week Award.

It’ll be right up there with the finest offerings of Messrs Marriner, Taylor, Dean, Oliver, Mason, Clattenburg…the list goes on over 2016/17.

Silva Assault - Craig Pawson didn't even see fit to book the Arsenal thug who kicked El Mago out of the FA Cup semi final.

Silva Assault – Craig Pawson didn’t even see fit to book Arsenal thug – the less than angelic Gabriel – who kicked El Mago out of the FA Cup semi final.

In the wake of the FA Cup semi final debacle – one where Arsenal were given license to kick David Silva out of the game after just 20 minutes and City had a perfectly legitimate goal disallowed – Yaya Toure has suggested a way forward.

Referring to the upcoming Manchester derby, Yaya said: “Maybe on Thursday we are going to have a better referee or maybe play without a referee – I’d prefer that.”

So, there you go, it’ll be ‘Jumpers for goalposts’ and maybe ‘First one to score ten wins’ – why not?

So close - Yaya nearly scored another vital FA Cup goal at Wembley, only to be denied by the post.

So close – Yaya nearly scored another vital FA Cup goal at Wembley, only to be denied by the post.

In all seriousness, the ref for the derby – Martin Atkinson – does appear to be one of the less toxic examples from Riley’s Kingdom, albeit he does have ‘previous’ from United’s infamous 4-3 win over City in September 2009.

With City having grabbed a deserved 90th minute Craig Bellamy equaliser, Atkinson contrived to play Double Fergie Time with extra cream and a cherry on top, to enable Michael Monotone Drone Owen to score the winner.

Double Fergie Time with a cherry on top - Martin Atkinson will officiate this week's Manchester derby - 7 years and 7 months after 7 controversial minutes of added time back in 2009 at Old Trafford.

Double Fergie Time with a cherry on top – Martin Atkinson will officiate this week’s Manchester derby – 7 years and 7 months after 7 controversial minutes of added time back in 2009 at Old Trafford.

Seven years and seven months on, a win against United would take City back up to third place – four points above Mourinho’s mob, one point ahead of Liverpool, and still with a game in hand on Jurgen Klopp’s team.

Champions League football is imperative for City as Pep seeks to shape his team and his squad in the summer transfer window.

90th minute equaliser - City warrior Craig Bellamy looked to have won City a point at The Swamp in 2009 - before Martin Atkinson went deep deep into Fergie Time.

90th minute equaliser – City warrior Craig Bellamy looked to have won City a point at The Swamp in 2009 – before Martin Atkinson went deep deep into Fergie Time.

City are being linked with countless number of prospective signings, but the clever money is on the likes of Leonardo Bonucci, Benjamin Mendy, Danny Rose and Aymeric Laporte to transform the defence, with Ederson Moraes to come in as City’s number one keeper.

A fit Vincent Kompany could’ve made such a difference in defence over the duration of the season, as would a 100% Ilkay Gundagon in midfield. Had Gabriel Jesus not been ruled out for the past 10 weeks, who’s to say how many of those chances created would’ve been converted?

Pep in good Kompany - City's leaders will rise again and take the Blues to glory.

Pep in good Kompany – City’s leaders will rise again and take the Blues to glory.

For those rushing to judge Guardiola – many of whom are still romanticizing Roberto Mancini’s return – just give him that four letter word…time.

As for Sheikh Mansour, he’ll need to do the same, plus a couple of hundred million pounds to make City truly competitive on all levels, not forgetting a few quid for the silver polishing cloths for May 2018.

 By David Walker


City fan Dave Birty was the winner – selected at random by InCrowdApparel – in the Read But Never Red ‘Loud, Proud, Loyal, THIS IS OUR CITY’ T-Shirt Competition.

Competition winner Dave Birty will have his Loud, Proud, Loyal THIS IS OUR CITY - T-shirt in readiness for the Manchester Derby.

Competition winner Dave Birty will have his Loud, Proud, Loyal THIS IS OUR CITY – T-shirt in readiness for the Manchester Derby.

Dave will have the uniquely designed City T-shirt in time for the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday night. He selected City’s famous 1-0 home win against United in 2012 as the Sky Blue’s most important derby win of recent times.

 The % of votes cast were

 1-0 FA Cup Semi-Final 2011 34%

6-1 Away 2011 29%

1-0 Home 2012 37%

If you want to ensure you are the proud owner of this great City T-shirt you can order directly from @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu



  1. April 24, 2017  9:27 pm by Doug Henshaw Reply

    Spot on Dave agree with every word. Pep never promised anything when he came, but lots of fans & media had us down to win everything. Now the same crew have turned on him. For God's sake back the guy & give him time. #inpepwetrust

    • April 24, 2017  11:13 pm by David Walker Reply

      People get narky with me about Pep, accusing me of having blind faith - well that isn't true - but what is perhaps true, is that I do indeed have faith and those detractors are at least only partially sighted ;-) It's almost as some of the daft feckers have set their stall out to say 'Pep isn't all that' and they want some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy, where Guardiola fails, to come true. If he gets to spend £200m or more this summer and we're in the same position in 2018 as we are now, then and only then will I start to review the situation. Cheers Doug.

  2. April 24, 2017  11:05 pm by Mark Shaw Reply

    Unfortunately, a section of City fans have become everything we despised and ridiculed that lot from Salford for and that saddens me, especially when you hear morons like that guy on TalkS**te this morning who said that Pep is way over his head and is "Ruining our club". These are the same "I won the Champions League with Rochdale on Championship Manager so therefore I should be a professional Manager" types who a few years ago were slating Mr Pellegrini and Mr Mancini before him which paved the way for the best Manager in the world to come to our great club and achieve great things. Pep inherited an ageing squad who's morale was low, he never claimed he would win anything in the first season, that was all down to Her Majesty's gutter press. Pep needs time as you so eloquently put it to build HIS team and HIS legacy and you don't accomplish that in one season which is something these lunatic fringe need to realise, Rome wasn't built in a day.

    As for Craig Pawson or Craig Poor Son as I like to call him and the PGMOL, they are ruining the beautiful game and the sooner video technology is employed the better as far as I'm concerned and that was always the last thing I ever wanted to see in football but that's a whole other argument.....

    • April 24, 2017  11:20 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Mark a helluva lot of commonsense in there fella. Don't get me wrong, those who doubt Pep are totally entitled to their opinions, but it just makes me wonder why they are so hell bent on negativity? Where's the reality check, the pragmatic approach that screams Zaba, Sagna, Kolarov and Clichy all 30+ somethings - personnel that need changing, but Pep and City cannot do it all in one or two transfer windows.

      As for the officiating...well FIFA basically shagged the world in broad daylight for three or four decades. How long has PGMOL existed - I'm not sure - but they'll catch up with the old Blatter Boys one day I'm sure.

  3. April 25, 2017  12:14 am by Susan Bookbinder Reply

    You are so reasonable and say it so well! Love your writing and your righting of the wrongs done on social media!

    • April 25, 2017  6:46 am by David Walker Reply

      I don't think PGMOL would think I'm reasonable if they ever read RBNR ;-) Then again they're so twisted and bent out of shape they're probably incapable of doing anything straight, let alone read in straight lines. Thanks for lending me your eyes and, as ever, for your very positive feedback.

  4. April 25, 2017  3:11 am by Malcolm Gruber Reply

    I would like to think there are many fans who believe as you do, that Pep will come good next season, and are willing to view this season as his learning curve. Which means he has to deliver trophies next season, despite the lack of quality in our referees and spines in their so-called assistants. My view is anything less than the Premier League and at least the semi-final of the Champions League will be a failure.

    • April 25, 2017  6:48 am by David Walker Reply

      That's not an unreasonable target MG, much will depend on the success or otherwise of City's transfer dealings this summer. Thanks for your comments, it's much appreciated.

  5. April 25, 2017  8:12 am by David Richards Reply

    You are 100% correct, give the man time. After chasing pep for years how daft would it be to get rid of him without giving him a few years to work with the first team and the club as a whole. The idea has always been to shape the whole club into a forward thinking outfit from the top and through all levels. I will keep faith with him and accept that he probably knows what he is doing even when the rest of us don't completely understand every move he makes. My only real concern is the blind spot he appears to have on the keeper situation, something that has us all scratching our heads. Perhaps we should have a look at the lad on loan at Torino, I really rate him.

    • April 25, 2017  8:41 am by David Walker Reply

      Well said Dave - I wonder who those of little faith really, truly think are more viable than Pep. I've said there's folk out there who look through sky blue tinted specs at a return for Roberto, but there were solid reasons for his departure, although we, as fans, thought the world of him. Similarly, I know the reasons for Joe's departure were multi-faceted and not just limited to his on field performances - sorry I can't elaborate, it'd be breaching a confidence if I did.

      The recruitment of Bravo has been Pep's Achilles Heel - he knows it hasn't really worked out - and will seek to rectify in the summer.

  6. April 25, 2017  11:00 am by GeorgeInIsrael Reply

    Wonderfully written, as always. I totally agree with you that Guardiola deserves the the time to do the job; football management isn't Instant Whip - just add milk and stir. You need to get the correct ingredients and blend them together.
    However, I think the most important phrase in this article is this: "City’s Catalan boss is arguably the most gifted coach of his generation ..." and I would argue that that has yet to be proven. He's worked with two teams with which, quite frankly, most top level coaches would have won trophies. When he succeeds in building a team that then goes on in a five to ten year period to consistently reach the levels which Barcelona and Bayern are currently doing. Until then, for me at least, the jury is out. Having said that, he's the boss we have and all the time that he's the boss, he gets my 100% support.

    • April 25, 2017  11:04 am by David Walker Reply

      We won't argue about the 'arguably'...or will we ;-) ? A very fair point about Pep having a point to prove, but in all fairness that's why he elected to put his reputation on the line to come to City in the first place. Thanks for your great feedback all the way from Israel, it's always most welcome.

  7. April 25, 2017  11:47 am by Richard Cooper Reply

    As always David, a well thought out article.
    Personally I am getting a bit p****d off with the know it all, 6 pints too many brigade, some of which were behind us on Sunday. "Get shut of Guardiola, he can't even speak proper English" and other suchlike tirades for most of extra time, always aimed at the usual suspects - Navas, Clichy etc.
    Again City suffered from some poor refereeing and the linesperson being visually impaired ! How that tackle from behind was deemed not bookable is beyond belief tbh. Having said that we were not at our best.
    We all know what needs to be done this summer and it is only after these ins & outs have taken place the we can judge Pep. For now I am totally with him.
    Top 3 (or 4th) are priority and to achieve that we will need to be on "top blob" for the remaining games, realizing Boro could be just as hard a game as Manu.
    A funny moment on Sunday while waiting in the queue at Wembley Station. All patiently quietly waiting and a loud voice piped up "You all love Arsene now he has got you in the Cup Final, you two faced b******s ! Even the Arsenal fans laughed at that.

    • April 25, 2017  1:55 pm by David Walker Reply

      We live a democracy and all fellow City fans are entitled to their viewpoint, but Pep is a class act on so many levels and I just can't see him not being a big success at City in the years to come. As for the referees...well! The foul on Silva was deliberate and targeted, probably even ordered by the hypocrite Wenger. The loss was as painful as it was unexpected and we cannot even entertain the prospect of more adversity on Thursday evening.

      Cheers RC, as ever your observations and rationale are pretty much bang on.

  8. April 25, 2017  12:33 pm by Pete lynch Reply

    Balanced, well written view as ever. Gutted about Sunday however i am convinced we have right man.

    • April 25, 2017  1:51 pm by David Walker Reply

      Cheers Pete - likewise! Let's see Pep get the players in this summer, reconstruct the defence, add solidity to the defensive midfield and sprinkle some stardust up front, review the young loanees - Unal, Roberts, Moreno and Zinchenko - assess the CFA stars - Foden, Diaz and Sancho, plus of course have Kompany, Gundogan and Jesus back from injury and watch us go.

  9. April 25, 2017  2:08 pm by Joshua Flagg Reply

    C'mon City!

    • April 25, 2017  3:07 pm by David Walker Reply

      Great to see a Liverpool fan wishing City well in the Manchester derby this Thursday night - cheers Josh.

  10. April 25, 2017  4:38 pm by Will Reply

    Dave i am still livid about Sunday, I can forgive the 'no goal' as an honest mistake but it was the eagerness to call City for fouls on every opportunity whilst letting Arsenal ones go. The booking tally for City over Arsenal was absolutely scandalous. I never thought I would see an Arsenal team professional foul so much, clearly they have finally learned from the examples of Barca & Madrid that it pays off. By rights the final should be City v Spurs. That would've been a fantastic final. I will not be watching the final. No sour grapes, just that it will be a bore fest. Dick Turpin is still wearing black, only the mask has gone. Will

    • April 25, 2017  5:24 pm by David Walker Reply

      You're more forgiving than I am Will. The 'eagle-eyed' linesman in question Stephen Child, was the same linesman who failed to see City's double penalty appeal against Liverpool on March 19th, when Aguero and Sterling were both fouled in the six yard box within the space of two seconds. And yet Mr Child's keen eye can apparently see when a ball in flight has gone out of play. As bad as that game-changing decision was, it almost pales into insignificance with Pawson's decision - or rather indecision - at not booking the less than angelic Gabriel for assaulting Silva.

      You and every City fan or neutral were rightly outraged that Arsenal were given a blank cheque to kick the sh*t out of City's players with impunity. As you say the bookings count of 5 to City and 2 to Arsenal is a whole lot more than farcical. It also shows Arsenic Whinger up in a different light, with the likes of Silva and Aguero targeted for malicious foul play by the Gunners.

      One day the lid will blow off this PGMOL caper and corrupt officials will be brought to book. FIFA screwed the world of football in broad daylight for three decades or more, I believe the day is coming when match-fixing in England and across the globe will be exposed.

      Thanks for your feedback.

  11. April 25, 2017  8:40 pm by Mike Cooke Reply

    Even former referees like Hackett & halsey think pgmol are bent / incompetent.

    • April 25, 2017  9:30 pm by David Walker Reply

      I have 'tales' that I would love to tell about PGMOL, anecdotes that show 'they're not right' to put it mildly, but without the concrete evidence demanded to stave off any libel action I cannot do so. In a nutshell Hackett and Halsey are of course right. Thanks for your input Mike.

  12. April 25, 2017  8:42 pm by Neil Reply

    I am not one for wanting Pep to be sacked or go, far from it, for me, I will see where the club are at after the 2018/19 season, yes THAT long, as we were 3-4 years behind where we were in May 2012, when Pep walked into the door last summer, this club needed an overhaul of huge proportions doing to it then, thanks to the abysmal, at sometimes shocking purchasing quality from the last encumbant at the club (I am not going to call him a manager).

    That being said, and the fact that the standard of officials is utterly useless and ruins the game on a weekly basis for me, you cannot compare his job at this club to that done by Roberto Mancini, the man you chose to ridicule in your last few paragraphs, it was Mancini who made City the force they were in this league, it was Mancini who instilled that winners mentality that has gone now from the club and that Pep wants to bring back, it was Mancini who signed most of the plethora of superstars we get to have watched in the Premier League era at City (Kolarov, Yaya, Silva, Aguero, Dzeko, Balotelli, Nasri, Milner, Johnson and even persuaded Joe Hart to remain at City by bringing him back into the club as number 1, when Mark Hughes wanted him gone) was Mancini who won our 1st trophy for a generation, then followed it with a League Title and had the side very very hard to score against and even harder to beat........we are a million miles away from that now.

    For me if it was a choice of which manager during my lifetime (Dec 77) has been Manchester City's best, then Roberto Mancini wins hands down every time, and I would bring him back at the drop of an hat over Pep Guardiola or anybody else........Pep has got the talents of the Academy that he continues to ignore, made our defence even worse than it was last season, and continues to pander to the continued adoption of a style that is way way too far ahead from 75% of this pathetic squad he inherited or still unfortunately has available to him, thus, making it more difficult than it should be for us to get the points needed each game, because the players lack the quality to play Pep's way, Mancini at least moulded with the side, until he got players capable of playing HIS way, he adapted to what they could do, and get by, all the time with one eye on the calibre of players he needed to implement HIS style and then the glory began.

    Pep is our manager now until he decides he wants off, I think he needs another 2 summer windows to rectify the mess he walked into, as a chequebook club it will be solved with that tool, hence needing another 13-15 players still is not going to happen next season either, but if it was a choice right now between Roberto Mancini back or Pep, then sorry Bobby Manc every day of the week for me, as he is the best manager I have ever seen at City.

    Great article though

    • April 25, 2017  9:27 pm by David Walker Reply

      First and foremost Neil, many thanks for some well crafted comments and for making a great case for what Bobby Manc achieved. To us, the fans on the outside and not always privy to the peculiarities that go on behind closed doors, Mancini was, and always will be, a City hero.

      I do however have to correct you when you claim I 'chose to ridicule...' Mancini - I did nothing of the sort. I said that there is a percentage of City fans who would welcome Roberto back as manager - you being a case in point. Your views on Roberto are well stated, but please don't accuse me of doing something that I did not do.

      The acquisitions since Mancini's departure have largely been lamentable and that rests largely with Txiki - not Pellegrini. If Mancini had managed to get the two players he wanted after the 2012 title we would have retained the Premier League and advanced into the latter stages of the Champions League. He wanted Robin Van Persie from Arsenal and Daniele de Rossi of Roma. RVP scored 30 goals for United and they won the title. He was 'gettable' at one stage but I believe Brian Marwood prevaricated and United came in for him. The de Rossi transfer was far more complex, and the Italian was probably using City to leverage a better deal with Roma.

      You know of course there was a player mutiny that effectively put paid to Mancini and, by all accounts, his man management capabilities left a hell of a lot to be desired.

      That said, I liked him as much as any other supporter - you only have to look back in the RBNR archives to see I am a man of my word.

      Going forward I can only see Pep making City stronger at all levels. He will be the one telling Txiki who he wants and if Txiki can't get it done we should get shot of him. The only problem there is that Pep and Txiki are bosom buddies. Begiristain being at the Etihad is one of the primary reasons Pep came to City.

      Mancini was undoubtedly more pragmatic than Pep - we've seen that this season - but we've endured our 'pain' and from 2017 onwards we'll be watching Guardiola's side evolve.

      Jesus and Gundagon have been blighted with injuries, Sane is still a kid but he's already showing his undoubted class and John Stones will prosper under Pep. There's 4 great signings for circa £125m - Pep's doing not Txiki's. Pep will want to bring the cream of the CFA - Sancho, Foden, Diaz etc through the ranks. He'll want to see if Marlos Moreno, Enes Unal, Patrick Roberts and Oleksandr Zinchenko can develop into first team regulars.

      Yes he screwed up with Bravo but not necessarily with Hart. Ederson could be the answer.

      We could conceivably get £100m in by offloading those who are surplus to requirements and Pep is rumoured to have another £200m to spend. The wages bill will have a helluva lot of flexibility and finally - finally - we will no longer be reliant on Mancini's signings. Silva and Aguero should be retained, maybe Yaya on a one year extension, certainly a fit Kompany (bought by Hughes of course) but Pep will build a new defence.

      If Pep's here in 2020 it'll mean he'll have brought massive success to City. Maybe then you'll be ready to revise your opinion on City's best ever manager.

      For my sake and all City supporters, I hope you'll be in that position.

      Thanks again.

  13. April 27, 2017  1:47 pm by Will Reply


    I was wondering if you could help us. We’ve restarted our Football News Aggregator site (Football News Daily) again, and have featured your blog for the last few days.

    I was just wondering what kind of traffic this has brought to your site compared to other News Aggregators?

    Many Thanks,


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